Twenty years after 9/11, two survivors are still friends to this day.
In an interview with People, the two survivors recalled the tragic day and how Doug Brown helped save Silvion Ramsundar’s life.
Ramsundar was in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He was an assistant vice president for Mizuho Capital Markets. He was getting breakfast on the 44th floor when an announcement was made that a plane hit Tower 1, better known as the North Tower. Despite the attack, he was told to return to work on the 80th floor. So he went on the express elevator and was on the 78th floor when the second plane hit his tower.
One of the plane’s wings hit the floor that he was on. A “fireball of airplane fuel blazed over his head.” He was then in complete darkness with dead bodies surrounding him. The fist-sized piece of the plane was near his heart, which left him with a collapsed lung and a broken left arm. He somehow made it out and down to the 65th floor by himself before he stopped due to pain.
Meanwhile, Brown was on the 70th floor, where he worked for Morgan Stanley. He and his co-worker Stan Kapica came across Ramsundar in agony against a wall. Brown had a handkerchief and put it on his wound. Both men were able to get him to safety and carry him down the 65 flights of stairs while keeping him conscious.
They promised one another that they would have a beer together one day. The men wrote down Ramsundar’s phone number along their way. The tower collapsed just minutes later. The men were able to get him to a firefighter who took him to the hospital.
Ramsundar was one of only sixteen people above the 77th floor to survive the 9/11 terrorist attack.
“Because of 9/11, our lives have become intertwined, they’ll be intertwined forever,” Ramsundar said. “I’ll always be thankful for what they did for me.” They were able to share those beers just a few weeks later.
Due to Ramsundar’s injuries, his wife Nimmi quit her job as a teacher to help him recover. Brown was able to help her get a job at his company. Additionally, Brown’s sister raised $1,500 for his medical expenses.
By December, their families met for the first time. There were lots of hugs and tears at the special meeting.
What Followed After 9/11
The 9/11 survivors became close friends, though the last time they’ve seen each other in person was back in 2006 for Brown’s daughter’s wedding. They regularly call, text, and Zoom each other. The Browns moved to California while the Ramsundar family resides in Queens.
Now, Brown retired in 2009 and has been doing charitable work. He works part-time for the 10,000 Degrees non-profit that provides tutoring to low-income school-age children in the San Fransisco area. Brown has his own scare almost six years ago with lymphoma but has since recovered.
In 2002, Ramsundar left Wall Street and is now in the real estate business. He still has pain and issues with his left arm due to the injury sustained on 9/11.
“The back shoulder muscle and the scapula still hurts if I sleep too long,” he shared. “That’s always a constant reminder when I wake up in the middle of the night — 9/11 is something you’re not going to forget.”
Ramsundar has been dealing with nightmares since the attacks. However, therapy has helped him stop reliving the terrifying moment.
Additionally, Brown developed anxiety following the horrific events. He also does therapy and medication to help his anxiety and depression.
“I don’t think too much about what happened. I dream a lot about what, in my mind’s imagination, are the new World Trade Center towers,” Brown said.
“Even though time has passed, it doesn’t feel 20 years different, it doesn’t feel like 20 years,” Ramsundar concluded.